Norovirus Cases on the Rise: what is it? - Vommat

Norovirus Cases on the Rise: what is it?

Here's a smattering of headlines from this week:

Mayo Clinic warns about above average rate of Norovirus cases

Health Officials Concerned Over Late Norovirus Surge

Norovirus cases spreading throughout US faster than normal, CDC says

Boston Doctors Explain What to Know as Norovirus Cases Spread in Mass.

Norovirus cases spread across the country

I won't belabor the point but - there are many, many more headlines like those above and they're from all over the country. Norovirus is somewhat seasonal and between October and April is when it is most active. So, we're in the window - but cases are higher than the usual baseline so people are being made aware to hopefully help avoid it and bring the numbers down for everyone. 

So, what is Norovirus?

It's a highly contagious virus that affects the stomach and intestines. It can cause pretty serious vomiting and diarrhea... great, right? 

Via the CDC, here are the most common symptoms of Norovirus:
- diarrhea

- vomiting

- nausea

- stomach pain

Less common symptoms include:

- fever

- headache

- bodyaches

Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines. This is called acute gastroenteritis and a person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days. There is no treatment for it but it is important to make sure that you do not become dehydrated. 

How does it spread?

Norovirus is SUPER contagious. This is why people end up trapped on those "poop cruises" such as this one from 2019. Yikes. 

But it spreads quickly because "if you get norovirus illness, you can shed billions of norovirus particles that you can’t see without a microscope. Only a few norovirus particles can make other people sick. You are most contagious

  • when you have symptoms of norovirus illness, especially vomiting, and
  • during the first few days after you recover from norovirus illness.

However, studies have shown that you can still spread norovirus for two weeks or more after you feel better." (CDC)

That's somewhat problematic, no? Spreading virus for weeks after you feel better? Another one where you can be spreading it without knowing. Viruses are tricky bastards.

It can also spread through contaminated food. "Norovirus can easily contaminate food and water because it only takes a very small amount of virus particles to make you sick. Food and water can get contaminated with norovirus in many ways, including when:
  • An infected person touches food with their bare hands that have feces (poop) or vomit particles on them
  • Food is placed on a counter or surface that has feces or vomit particles on it
  • Tiny drops of vomit from an infected person spray through the air and land on the food
  • The food is grown or harvested with contaminated water, such as oysters harvested from contaminated water, or fruit and vegetables irrigated with contaminated water in the field" (CDC)

How to Prevent It

Norovirus is pretty nasty and makes people feel very, very ill for a few days. Obviously, it is best avoided! You can take steps to prevent transmission including frequent hand washing, safely handling and preparing food, as well as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. It's also important to thoroughly wash any clothing or other materials that come in contact with vomit or... poop. 

One person in your home having Norovirus doesn't have to mean that everyone else will get it too but you've got to be vigilant and clean the shit out of everything to have a shot at containment. One way to help make this a smidge easier? Using Vommats. The vomit is contained in and on the sheet for a quick and easy cleanup - you don't need to wash them - just make them disappear. 

So when there's a "stomach bug" going around - it may be Norovirus. Your best bet is try to keep it from spreading about the family, wait it out, stay hydrated, and catch up on your favorite shows. You should be feeling better in 1-3 days!

Tons more info about Norovirus here from the CDC if you want to study up
And buy Vommats here so that you're ready if Norovirus comes knocking at your door. (I hope it doesn't!!)

Featured photo by Romina BM on Unsplash  

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